Wendy Kopp came to Echoing Green about a month out of college with the idea for Teach for America as her senior thesis in her hand.
Teach For America recruits outstanding and diverse leaders early in their careers and asks them to make a commitment that begins with two years of teaching in a public school, partnering with children and families most impacted by educational inequity.
Wendy saw how the trajectory of low-income students differed from those who had greater economic and educational opportunities. She was convinced that her generation was eager to make an impact and would choose teaching rather than traditional careers if a respected teaching corps existed. Wendy was right. She launched Teach for America with Echoing Green’s support, and during the organization’s first year, 500 men and women began teaching in six low-income communities across the country. TFA now has 50,000 alumni, a budget of nearly $300 million, and continues to place thousands of teachers across the country. Wendy has since gone on to launch Teach For All, a network developing collective leadership in classrooms and communities around the world. She is a 1991 Echoing Green Fellow.